Over the gate...

Designed in 1913 by Victorian/Edwardian/other architect Theophilus A Allen; John Lennon's house between 1964 and 1968; sunroom, attic and prisco stripe hibernice; Mellotron and caravan; Babidji and Mimi; mortar and pestle; Wubbleyoo Dubbleyoo; curios and curiosity; remnants and residue; testimonials and traces; (Cavendish Avenue, Sunny Heights and Kinfauns); Montagu Square; mock Tudor: Brown House: *KENWOOD*.

(Also available as a blog.)

Legal Blah: This blog is for historical research only, and is strictly non-commercial. All visual and audio material remains the property of the respective copyright owner, and no implication of ownership by me is intended or should be inferred. Any copyright owner who wants something removed should contact me and I will do so immediately. Alternatively, I would be delighted to provide a credit. The writing is by me, such as it is, unless otherwise stated, and this is the only Beatles related blog I am responsible for.

Comments Blah: Comments are moderated. Any genuine comments are welcome. Offensive comments/advertising/trolling/other moronicisms are not, and will be rejected. Due to the aforementioned, anonymous comments are no longer enabled. Comments are the responsibility of the individual commenter, and commenters' opinions do not necessarily reflect my own. (NB: This blog revels in flagrant trivia. If that's not yer "thing", this won't be yer "thang".)

Correspond via: kenwoodlennon@googlemail.com

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Tittenhurst: then & now.

In brief, Ringo sold it to Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan in 1988, who proceeded to spend a, frankly, atrocious amount of wherewithal on gutting the interior, adding a whole new wing, constructing a bomb-proof swimming pool (I shit ye not), and generally doing all the things that one is not really supposed to do to a Grade II listed building. (The High Court had to step in to stop him going further, apparently.)
Anyway, above - the house in 1969, a few months before John bought it, and the same view now: the area under the terrace has been turned into a room. Speaking of which, here's how the Imagine errr..."turf" (as featured in the video) looks these days:

...and how it looked in the titular film:

The balcony, where the final pictures of the four of them together were taken, is long gone; that portion of the house has been turned into a new wing, because 50 rooms (or whatever it was) isn't really enough, is it? Clearly not:

An internal (fairly obviously, though nothing would surprise me) staircase (the camel photo possibly not there in the Lennon/Starr era)(nor anything else):

Finally, that bomb-proof swimming pool, together with the one that used to be there. An outdoor pool is generally regarded as a sign of wealth in the UK, but the old one looks positively spartan compared to the cash-fest that's there now. One reaches it, naturally, via an underground tunnel:

The Sheik died a few years back, and Tittenhurst now stands empty for much of the year, though there is a small army guarding the perimeter to ensure scum like me don't get a shufti.
Many thanks to JammyEye for the pics.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Kenwood: more 1965 action.

A new shot (new to me at any rate) of John on the steps at Kenwood in 1965. Well done that man Joe Baiardi for tracking this un down.

Virtual Kenwood: more Virtual Sunroom.

Regular "readahs" may have been wondering what happened to the weird and wonderous virtual Kenwood "pwoject". The answer is that it seems to have run into technical difficulties, related to the fact that in order to produce this stuff, you really need something with the computing power of HAL 9000 ("I'm sorry Dave. I'm afraid I really can't allow you to produce any more renders of John Lennon's virtual bidet".)
However - good news, for once. Chris, the highly talented artist behind it all, assures me that the "pwoject" is close to being back on track, and that the attic studio is almost done, together with the 360 degree QuickTime sunroom. This will allow anyone who so desires to experience exactly what it would have been like to be a member of the genus Musca Domestica in Kenwood, back in the days when flies were flies, not like these modern flies which are rubbish.
Anyway, here's another view of the sunroom, showing an imagining of the murky unfashionable end:

Thanks to Chris at thebeatlesin3D (link under Friends & Neighbours).

50 Pubs Associated With The Beatles: ...

No.50: The Blue Posts. Actually, they never drank here, but they did walk past it a few times. Places The Beatles Walked Past A Few Times would be a stultifyingly dull blog (and one that I would no doubt follow avidly, and, indeed, author). However, the noteworthy (or not) thing is that they were captured walking past it by Dezo Hoffmann on July 2, 1963; in the famous shots taken in Rupert Court, the sign outside the Blue Posts can be seen hanging in the background:

Thrilling stuff, no doubt. The pub is, quite clearly, still there. Another then and now of the Court o' Rupert:

Anyway, onwards to:

No.49: The Golden Lion. They never drank here either. They possibly walked past it a few times. Places The Beatles Possibly Walked Past A Few Times would be an even more ludicrous excursion into the far reaches of tedium than the aforementioned Places The Beatles Walked Past A Few Times (or the potentially very large indeed Places The Beatles Never Walked Past). However, there is another connection; the story goes that back in the shikshtiesh, this pub was a place where, if one were a lithe young man with an interest in meeting other lithe young men, lithe young men might be met... and a certain Brian Epstein was a regular. But the Beatles themselves never came here.
No. 48: Actually, this pub thing is a ridiculous topic, and I am abandoning it. (Coming soon! "50 Places Where John Lennon Punched Someone Out." You think I'm joking? Dear God, how I wish I were.)

Friday, 7 January 2011

Kenwood: dining room, 1965.

Joe Baiardi has uncovered another shot of the dining room from 1965, which gives a little wider perspective. This corner, of course, provided the location for one of the most famous photos taken at Kenwood:

The house was re-vamped yet again shortly after this, in order to get rid of most of Ken Partridge's initial interior design; how that affected the dining room I dunno - the wall cupboard was moved to the main sitting room, as seen in Cathy Kelleher Sarver's photo from 1968, but no photos of this room (in the Lennon-era) post-1965 have surfaced as yet.
As has been previously noted at nauseating length, the long table from the dining room (an acquisition of Partridge's of which John actually approved) played a further part in Beatles history, after it was taken to Tittenhurst; in August, 1969, it was shown being huddled around by the Fabs, for what may well have been their final meeting (certainly their final photo session):

Anyway, the dining room at Kenwood didn't look that different in 2005; how it looks now is anyone's guess:

Thanks, as ever, to Joe.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Kenwood: latest views, part 3.

Another very familiar little bit of the grounds: the steps by the big old tree near the bottom of the garden, still looking much the same in Joe's recent pic above. Here's a side view:

Again, this same spot features in a few photos from 1965, including the famous one of John attempting to fly away (and let's not read too much into these things, for once):

However, looking at it from the other side, what's this? A new covered swimming pool has been built:

John was also captured on an old garden seat in this locale in 1967, appearing to stare right up it, disapprovingly:

Or something. Many thanks again go to Joe, and more to come anon.

Kenwood: latest views, part 2.

Moving around the house, and some more of the original place has been allowed to go - this time the windows on the first floor, which originally formed part of the master bedroom suite. These have been lengthened, and balconies added. It all now looks a bit out of proportion to me, and it certainly alters the look of this side of the house - one part previously to have survived more or less unchanged since the place was built around a hundred years ago. Compare, again, with Cathy Kelleher Sarver's snap from 1968. Ho, and indeed, hum.
Many thanks to Joe.

Kenwood: latest views, part 1.

Joe Baiardi has sent in some more shots of the house, taken during his recent trip to England-land, and these are quite revealing as to the latest state of play. First up, the front door; no major changes to the house itself - or, at least, no further changes beyond the major ones undertaken in the mid-1990s. The comparison shots are from 1968, above and below - what is vaguely interesting (or not, as always) is the re-appearance of statues around the entrance:

The tree, evident in many fan photos, where-in a generally dishevelled John is prodded out to converse/strike a pose with ver fanz in the vicinity of his entrance (missis), is now gone, having been replaced with a younger version:

I'm pretty sure the old one was still there recently; to be fair, it may well have had to be removed. Old trees in close proximity to houses are generally a bad idea. As Sepultura might have advised. Yet, it's another bit of the auld place now gone.
So much of this blog catalogues the gradual chipping away of Kenwood over the years, that it's "nice" to be able to report a bit that appears to have survived. I hadn't noticed before, but a portion of the (dare one say it) vaguely iconic pillars from the Lennon-era remains, embedded in the extended entrance that was put in during the 90s:

More to follow, on similar themes, inevitably. Many thanks to Joe for having the chutzpah to go and take the photos, and the generousity to let the rest of us see them.